8 takeaways as the Celtics continue to slide early in the season in 2OT loss to the Wizards

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Celtics

“You wish the offense caught up with our defense tonight.”

Washington Wizards goaltender Bradley Beal reacts after an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics. Photo AP / Nick Wass

Here are the takeaways as the Ice Celtics lost 115-112 in double overtime to the Wizards on Saturday.

1. Considering what just happened, it looks like we need to start with the 3-point shot, but there isn’t much to analyze. The Celtics were 2 for 26 behind the arc. They somehow managed to send the game to double overtime, but a team just doesn’t have to win an NBA basketball game in the Year of Our Lord 2021 when they don’t. made that two points to 3 points.

“What can you say?” Josh Richardson asked rhetorically after the game.

Jayson Tatum missed his first three of the game – a relatively open spot-up look that has surrounded. Dennis Schröder – who has been red-hot from the depths – missed the next two, both stares open. Richardson missed a good look then. Payton Pritchard missed a 30 foot open. Romeo Langford missed a wide-open look from the corner. Grant Williams threw an open ball. Jayson Tatum tried to go 2 on 1 but hit the side of the rim.

We could go on, but you get Richardson’s point. All were beautiful, but nothing related until Pritchard finally broke the seal in the third quarter in the Celtics’ 21st attempt. Mental damage was done, however – the Celtics only attempted five more in the fourth quarter and two overtime periods.

2. Much of the reason the Celtics stayed alive was Jaylen Brown, who sliced ​​through the Wizards’ porous home defense en route to 34 points on a 14 for 24 shot. Ime Udoka hinted that the Celtics wanted to get him started sooner after his lackluster (or “mind-boggling”, as Udoka put it) performance on Wednesday, and two minutes into the game, Horford found Brown cutting the backdoor for an easy two-handed dunk.

It opened the floodgates for parts like this.

The dunk was nice, but perhaps more impressive were Brown’s forays into the paint as he adjusted to defense – changing hands and angles, sometimes in the air. He showed his devastating euro-step in transition and found several impressive ways to score without making 3 runs (0-for-5).

“He’s a proud guy, he holds himself to a high standard,” Udoka said. “You knew he was going to have a rebound game. He said he really wanted to focus on holding every possession and playing through every possession, and you could see the focus, offense and spring in his step from the start of the game.

3. Jayson Tatum is now shooting 40% from the field and 27.3% at 3 points after a 10v32 outing on Saturday. Tatum is dazzling, but he just hasn’t been good enough to start the season.

Tatum’s struggles are the toughest late in the game. The Celtics performed isolation playoffs for Tatum on Saturday with very limited success – not for the first time this season. Brown got the final settlement shot (and he probably could have taken it right up to the rim, rather than settling for a jumper), but Tatum’s iso sets didn’t look good at first.

Isolation sets made up 22% of Tatum’s offense heading into Saturday’s game, according to NBA tracking stats, and he averaged 0.68 points per possession. This places it just below the 14th percentile. Presumably the Celtics will give him a chance to turn things around, but Tatum’s early returns to isolation offensive this season are not promising, which is in line with previous seasons.

4. On the NBC Sports Boston show, Brian Scalabrine praised the way officials allow physical contact, and he won’t get any arguments here. It’s important to keep players safe, but allowing more limited physical play increases the intensity and allows for fun little stories in the game (example: Al Horford absolutely equalized Spencer Dinwiddie at the post in the fourth quarter after Dinwiddie was against him on several possessions) and keeps the game fluid.

5. Montrezl Harrell presents a dilemma for both teams: The Celtics struggled to contain him offensively and once again allowed too many second chance points (and 12 offensive rebounds), but they relentlessly targeted the talkative big man. in the pick-and-roll.

Udoka isn’t shy about telling reporters that the Celtics are targeting a certain player – he said the Celtics tackled LaMelo Ball after the Hornets game, and he again named his side’s main goal on Saturday.

“They had two guys that we chose who were successful again, and we were trying to put Harrell in the action,” he said after the game.

Udoka’s outspoken nature continues to be a fun subplot this season.

6. Aaron Nesmith has once again not played and continues to be out of the rotation even though the Celtics have beaten a historic 3 point number. Pritchard, who did one of the two, managed the rotation with ailing Marcus Smart.

7. After a slow start and an invisible night on Wednesday, Josh Richardson rebounded with a very good performance in both directions: 18 points out of 7 for 15 shots (of which the other made 3 points). He tracked down Bradley Beal and Spencer Dinwiddie as best he could, despite a recent bout with back spasms (he said he felt better on Saturday).

Richardson doesn’t do much to fix the Celtics’ spacing issues, but like Schröder, his good offensive performances are a nice boost.

8. The Celtics were happy with their effort, despite the loss that brought them down to 2-4.

“We kept them pretty well overnight – 36% in total,” Udoka said. “The shot was not there. We leaned on our defense and narrowly missed when we needed a few more shots. But if we shoot like a normal night or less than normal, we would be in good shape. “

“Sometimes it’s a period of adjustment,” added Richardson. “No need to panic.”

Their point is taken – we haven’t even reached November on the calendar.

Still, the Celtics don’t look good yet, apart from Tatum and Brown’s 71-point explosion against the Hornets. They are now 2-4 and gave up winnable games for a low part of their schedule before the difficulty began in December, and their best players have played five overtime periods in their first six games.

“I wouldn’t really say [the losses] start to add up, ”said Richardson. “… I don’t think anyone lowers their head or flexes their shoulders. I think we all know somehow that we are close.

The Celtics need to be close, because whatever Richardson says, the losses add up – literally. It’s early days, so the Celtics don’t deserve a full-blown panic, but we probably have enough warning signs to raise a worried eyebrow.



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